THE PEN, THE SHIELD, OR THE SWORD? HOW THE UNITED STATES WINS THE HYPERSONIC ARMS RACE
Santacroce, Andrew E.
Dahl, Erik J.
Hammerer, John J., Jr.
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In the past few years, China and Russia have developed offensive hypersonic missile capabilities that the United States currently can neither match nor successfully defend against. Such weapons are nuclear capable, have an unpredictable flight path, and significantly reduce reaction times for decision makers. This thesis analyzes the impact hypersonic missiles have on strategy and military combat systems to determine how the United States can best respond to China and Russia acquiring hypersonic weapons. It explores three main options: arms control negotiations, advancing the U.S. missile defense system, or the United States acquiring its own hypersonic weapons. The pros and cons of each option are weighed to determine the quickest, most affordable, and most effective approach to the hypersonic arms race.This thesis concludes that the United States should control only what it is capable of controlling: practicing transparency and confidence-building measures to set the international standard for conduct with hypersonic weapons, continuing to develop its missile defense system to keep pace with emerging threats, and acquiring hypersonic missiles to allow it the ability to operate forward-deployed forces without impediment is the best response to China and Russia.
RightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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